NFMMC Medication Adherence Program: Building Up Trust, Breaking Down Stigma


Millennium Collaborative Care has been proud to extend Delivery Service Incentive Payment Program support, including Innovation Fund support, to innovative initiatives under the leadership of Sheila Kee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, that are currently addressing social determinants of health and improving the delivery of healthcare for patients at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in Niagara Falls, NY.
Sincerest thanks to NFMMC team members for sharing insights into their daily efforts to provide compassionate, comprehensive care, and truly make a major difference in their patients’ lives.

Emily Buzzard, MSW, graduated from Daemen College with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in 2018 and a Masters of Social Work in 2019. She began her career at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center as the Medication Adherence Coordinator in April 2019.

NFMMC Medication Adherence Program

By Emily Buzzard, MSW, Medication Adherence Coordinator

Throughout my time working in the Medication Adherence Coordinator position, there have been many eye opening experiences and key opportunities to help individuals in the community reach their wellness goals. However, one encounter in particular really speaks to the difficulties and the circumstances in which many individuals who are non-compliant fall within. Below is a vignette that describes this encounter and the successes that came about because of this program. All names have been changed to respect and maintain the confidentiality of the individuals mentioned.

Sally (patient) is a 46 year-old woman that the Medication Adherence Coordinator reached out to over the phone in June 2019 to offer services and assistance with medication difficulties. Sally did not answer at first, but returned the Medication Adherence Coordinator’s call. The first thing she stated was, “I can’t believe I’m calling you back, I have so much social anxiety. But I really need help and I think you can help me”. Sally was ready to make a change and was agreeable to meeting to talk about her experiences with other healthcare providers well as her current challenges.

When the meeting took place, Sally expressed that she was disappointed with her previous professional supports and felt as if she was let down. Sally shared that due to her past of substance use, she felt judged and stigmatized by her peers and professionals in the field. Through conversation, listening, and validating Sally’s feelings, a relationship of trust began to build and Sally stated that she felt comfortable engaging with services again to help her get where she wants to be. Sally agreed to enroll in our Health Home Program as well as continue to engage with the Medication Adherence Coordinator for support and discuss questions that she may have about medication. The Medication Adherence Coordinator provided education to Sally on her pharmacy’s delivery program as well as their medication fill reminder program. They also provided Sally with support and helped her schedule a cab for her upcoming appointment so that she would not have to miss it for a second time. Sally shared how happy she was to learn that there were people there to help her and that she was not alone.

Since this meeting, Sally has been open and actively communicating with the Medication Adherence Coordinator about her progress and utilizing the program as a support for her when she feels stuck. This program has encouraged this individual to engage in services again and slowly break down the stigma of substance use and mental health. Only time can tell what other successes will come along as this program and its members continue to outreach, empower, and support these individuals in our community in reaching their wellness goals.



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